By Kirkland & Hassell
In Germany - and later, in England - many of the Waldenses were called "Lollards," as some suppose, after the celebrated Walter Lollard, of Germany, who exercised his ministry in the early part of the fourteenth century. Others think the name "Lollard" was derived from "lolium" (a tare), as if the Lollards were tares in the kingdom of Christ. Another theory is that the name is from the German "loben" ("to praise") and "herr" ("lord"), because the Lollards went from place to place singing psalms and hymns. Still others think the name is from "lullen," "lollen," or "lallen," with the termination hard, with which "many of the high Dutch words end. 'Lollen' signifies to 'sing with a low voice,'" etc. Mosheim thinks they got this name from their attending the funerals of the poor and offcast with their solemn funeral dirge.
"Fuller, however, informs us that in the reign of Edward III., about A.D. 1315, Walter Lollard, a German preacher - or, as Perrin, in his 'History of the Waldenses,' calls him, one of the 'barbs' (pastors) - of great renown among them, came into England, and was so eminent in England that, as in France, they were called 'Berengarians,' from Berengarius, and 'Petrobrusians,' from Peter Bruis; and in Italy and Flanders, 'Arnoldists,' from the famous Arnold, of Brescia. So did the Waldensian Christians for many generations afterwards bear the name of this worthy man, being called 'Lollards.'"
Whatever may have been the origin of the name, it is quite evident that Walter, since the days of his ministry, has been known by the name "Walter Lollard," and there is but little doubt but that the Lollards in Germany and England were so called from him.
Bishop Newton said of the Lollards: "There was a man more worthy to have given name to the sect - the deservedly famous John Wycliffe, the honor of his own time and the admiration of succeeding times."
Brown states that the first English Lollards came from Germany.
The Waldenses, in these characteristics, were identical with the Novationists: (1) Independent form of church government; (2) baptism by immersion upon a profession of faith; (3) they baptized anew all that came to them from any church not in fellowship with them; (4) they refused baptism to infants; (5) they were predestinarians (SEE NOTE BELOW); (6) they taught freedom of conscience; (7) they acknowledged no rule of faith and practice but the Scriptures.
"In the time of King Edward II," says Jarrel, "about the year A.D. 1315, Walter Lollard, a German preacher, a man of great renown among the Waldenses, came into England. He spread their doctrine very much in these parts; so that afterwards they went by the name 'Lollards,'" (Page 319).
Benedict and others give about the same account of Walter Lollard's visiting England. The Baptists in England were frequently called "Lollards" by their enemies for more than a century after the visit of Walter Lollard. They were generally among the common people, as their principles were held in mortal abhorrence by the clergy of the established religion. Those who believed or advocated them had to do so privately, or suffer; yet they were of the purest character and had many learned men to espouse their cause and boldly advocate their doctrine. When Walter Lollard visited England, his extensive learning and superior ability no doubt were the means of bringing many of the more distinguished people of England in contact with these holy principles; and to know them is to love them. As a result, many who were occupying distinguished positions in the established church broke away from the tyranny of the established priest and breathed the pure spirit of the Lollards - such as John Wycliffe (1328 - 1384), who was professor in the University of Oxford, and who gave the first English translation of the Scriptures. When he began to teach this pure doctrine of freedom of conscience and to instruct the people to read the Scriptures and make them their rule of faith and practice, he incurred the everlasting displeasure of the corrupt clergy, who saw that such measures would strike at the root of ignorance and superstition; and, as observed by Brown, "like the Ephesians of old, they trembled for their craft." At length they obtained letters patent from the king, directing that Wycliffe should be expelled from the University of Oxford, and that all of his publications should be everywhere seized and destroyed. When Wycliffe could no longer resist this flood of cruel intolerance, he gave up his professorship at Oxford and retired to Lutterworth.
The names of some of the prominent ministers and authors who were the exponents of the Baptist principles in England from the time that Walter Lollard visited England (A.D. 1315) until the first church of English Baptists was planted in America were John Wycliffe, Thomas Bodby, John Claydon, William Sawtree, David George, Thomas Mann, Christopher Shoomaker, William Tyndale, and John Frith.
Excerpts from: A Condensed History of The Church of God, written around 1896, By J. V. Kirkland & C. B. Hassell
1 Peter 1:2-3, 20, 23: "Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, ... which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, ... 20 Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you, ... 23 Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever."
Romans 8:29-30: "For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified."
Ephesians 1:4-12: "According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: 5 Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, 6 To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved. 7 In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace; 8 Wherein he hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence; 9 Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself: 10 That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him: 11 In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will: 12 That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ."
1 Corinthians 2:6-9,11-14: "Howbeit we speak wisdom among them that are perfect: yet not the wisdom of this world, nor of the princes of this world, that come to nought: 7 But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory: 8 Which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. 9 But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. ... 11 For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God. 12 Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. 13 Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual. 14 But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned." (cf. Acts 4:28)
2 Thessalonians 2:13-14: "But we are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth: Whereunto he called you by our gospel, to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ."
Romans 6:23: "For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
James 1:17-18, 21: "Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning. 18 Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures. ... 21 Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls."
Therefore, we can see that God had a simple plan to save all who would "lay apart all filthiness" (loathsome & disgusting behavior) and "superfluity" (excessive and unnecessary) "naughtiness" (moral wickedness and evil), in other words, repent of sin; and "receive with meekness the engrafted word" by faith in Jesus Christ. Only this "is able to save your souls.
Romans 10:17: "So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God."
So in God's foreknowledge He has know all things "from the foundation of the world" (Matt. 13:35, 25:34; Luke 11:50; Heb. 4:3; Rev. 13:8, 17:8), and has directed events for maximum salvations and good for people, but without superseding the right He has given to man to choose to receive or reject Him as touching salvation. (Lam. 3:31-36)
1 Timothy 2:3-6: "For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time."
2 Peter 3:9: "The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance."
Romans 2:4-10: "Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance? 5 But after thy hardness and impenitent heart treasurest up unto thyself wrath against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God; 6 Who will render to every man according to his deeds: 7 To them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honour and immortality, eternal life: 8 But unto them that are contentious, and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, indignation and wrath, 9 Tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that doeth evil, of the Jew first, and also of the Gentile; 10 But glory, honour, and peace, to every man that worketh good, to the Jew first, and also to the Gentile: 11 For there is no respect of persons with God."